Hybrids & Electrics

Electric Cars Are Better for Drive-Ins

Two popular topics during the global COVID-19 pandemic have been electric cars and the resurgence of the drive-in movie experience. VW says that electric cars are “more inevitable” and Walmart is converting many of its locations into drive-in movie spots. Interestingly, both of these topics go hand-in-hand. 

View of the drive-in screen from inside a vehicle at night time
A man watches a film at the Drive-in Cinema in Denia on May 14, 2020, becoming the first cinema to open at thirty percent capacity since lockdown restrictions were eased in certain regions in Spain | JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images

Lockdown means time to learn about electric cars

During the global lockdowns related to the Coronavus, many people have used the time to study things they have an interest in. Electric cars is a field that is growing, but many consumers do not have much understanding of them. So, the pandemic allowed some people the opportunity to sit down at their computer screens and research the topic. 

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Electric cars mean no gas pump handle worries

The pandemic has also caused many people to look at the gas pump handle differently as well. Combustion engine cars will always need a refill of fuel. This means that many people will be touching the same gas pump handles. The idea of touching those handles causes some people discomforting anxiety. But, with an electric car, many people forgo the gas pump for home charging, where the consumer knows the handlers of the plug. 

Also, during the regional lockdowns, drive-in movie locations have been seeing a resurgence in popularity. Stadium seating where everybody is elbow to elbow in front of a movie screen is not where people want to congregate right now. But, at a drive-in, people can socially distance in their cars and still have a big-screen entertainment experience. 

Drive-in owner prepares to reopen after COVID19
MENDON, MA – MAY 15: Dave Andelman, owner and president of Mendon Twin Drive-In in Mendon, MA says he is ready for a possible May 18 start date for his drive in theaters. He has been preparing to operate safely over the past month, including the orange cement blocks that close off every other drive in space | Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

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Drive-In movie theaters are making a comeback

The drive-in experience has, therefore, been making a comeback. For example, the stadium where the Miami Dolphins play, Hard Rock Stadium, announced in late May that they were converting the grounds into a drive-in theater. It would have places for over 200 drivers to park their cars and view movies. On July 1st, Walmart followed suit. One hundred sixty of Walmart store parking lots were turned into contact-free drive-in movie theaters for people wanting to watch “movies programmed by the Tribeca Drive-in team.” 

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How does all this tie together?

A drive-in can be a great experience. But, people have to be prepared for them. If the car taken to the drive-in has a weak battery, the experience can turn into a disheartening one. An explanation is necessary.

Drive-in theaters broadcast the sound for the movie through a low power FM station. When a customer pays for their ticket, they are given the frequency to tune in to, and they are advised to keep their cars off during the movie. So, the radio needs to be on the entire time to hear the movie. That leads to a lot of dead battery experiences at the drive-in. To avoid that, a lot of people will turn their car back on during the intermission for about 10 or 15 minutes. That action charges the battery. Some people forget to do this or have weak batteries. So, they pay for the consequence. 

Prius charges Subaru dead battery.
A driver of a Toyota Prius helps jump start the dead battery on a Subaru vehicle | AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR via Getty Images

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Owners of electric cars have an advantage at a drive-in. Even in the middle of a movie, those with an EV can power up the climate control and roll up the windows without having to turn on a noisy engine. Also, the electric car owner does not have to worry about gasoline, exhaust emissions, or a rumbling engine to disturb the environment. In short, an electric car solves all the problems associated with attending a drive-in movie, with the exception of providing good bathroom facilities.